06/11/2010

Tom Sutcliffe and guests - playwright Mark Ravenhill, historian Kathryn Hughes and novelist Bidisha - review the cultural highlights of the week.

ANOTHER YEAR is the latest film from Mike Leigh. The cast will be familiar to fans of the director's work - Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville star, and Imelda Staunton has a memorable cameo role. The film revolves around the life and allotment of contented couple Gerri and Tom - or Tom and Gerri, a well-worked joke - and the less fortunate assortment of friends and aquaintances who provide a counterpoint to their happiness.

AN OBJECT OF BEAUTY is the latest novel from American comedian Steve Martin - it's set in the New York art world and takes place over two decades. It's not just about the price of pictures, but about their value - and unusually the book is also illustrated with them, a full colour reproduction of some of the works that feature in the story suddenly popping up when you turn the page.

JOURNEY THROUGH THE AFTERLIFE: ANCIENT EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD is the big new show opening this week at the British Museum. The Book Of The Dead operated for Ancient Egyptians as something between a posthumous passport and a Rough Guide to the Underworld, an assembly of spells and incantations intended to aid the recently deceased on their journey from this world to the next.

Finally, two new television offerings for later this month - Channel Four's ANY HUMAN HEART, adapted from his novel by the author William Boyd, and Sky Arts' run of four CHEKHOV shorts. The former ambitiously journeys through the 20th Century, glancing up against its major figures and events along the way. The latter cleverly casts leading British comedy actors in the title roles - Johnny Vegas, Steve Coogan and Julia Davis all feature.

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45 minutes

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Sat 6 Nov 2010 19:15

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